Dental staff shortages resulting in huge delays for children in West Cork – Margaret O’Mahony

23 September 2019
By Bryan Smyth

Fianna Fáil TD for Cork South West Margaret Murphy O’Mahony says dental staff vacancies across West Cork must be addressed as a matter of urgency as some children are not receiving their routine dental check ups before they leave primary school.

Deputy Murphy O’Mahony has been contacted by a number of parents whose children have not received their primary school dental check ups because of long delays in the system.

“Over the past number of months I have become aware of the serious delays in dental treatment services for children in the West Cork area.  Parents have told me that their children are missing out on their routine dental check-ups, which are meant to be carried out in primary school.  Some of these children are only receiving their appointment dates after they have left primary education.  This situation is inexcusable”, said Deputy Murphy O’Mahony.

“We are all to aware of the impact of delayed diagnosis and treatment can have on outcomes.  Some of these children are waiting years for routine dental check-ups.  These delays could be resulting in all sorts of dental issues for them.

“I raised this issue with the Minister for Health, who referred my query to the HSE.  It has confirmed that “there have been a number of retirements, statutory leave and transfers of staff in Cork Dental Services”, which have “had an impact on the delivery of frontline services, particularly in the West Cork area”.

“It also stated that “within the current available staffing resource, it is not always possible to see children in their second or sixth class academic year”.  The HSE has also confirmed that a process to recruit 3 dental surgeon posts for the West Cork area will begin shortly.

“I am urging management to act urgently to ensure that these posts are filled as soon as possible.  The current situation is failing children.  These check-ups are key to identifying potential issues and catching them before they become more problematic.  It is essential that these check-ups are carried out”.

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